Category: Real Estate

Budgeting Time and Money Wisely When Renovating Your Home

Maui real estate
In the current sellers’ market, many homeowners wonder what, if anything, needs to be remodeled before they list their house. That’s where a trusted real estate professional comes in. They can help you think through today’s market conditions and how they impact what you should – and shouldn’t – renovate before selling. Here are some considerations a professional will guide you through:

Buyers may be willing to take on projects

A more balanced market typically sees a 6-month supply of homes for sale. Above that, and we’re in a buyers’ market. Below that, and we’re in a sellers’ market. According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), our current supply of homes for sale, while rising, still remains solidly in sellers’ market territory.

So, what’s that mean for you? If you’re a seller trying to decide whether or not to renovate, this is especially important because it’s indicative of buyer behavior. When there aren’t enough homes for sale, buyers may be more willing to purchase a home that doesn’t meet all their needs and renovate it themselves later.

Not all renovation projects are equal

You don’t want to spend time and money on a project that isn’t worth the cost or is too niche design-wise for some homebuyers. The last thing you as a homeowner want to do is center your home design around a passing fad – even worse, one thats design quality won’t last a good while.

Before making any decisions, talk to your real estate advisor. They have insight into what other sellers are doing before listing their homes and how buyers are reacting to those upgrades. Don’t spend the time and money to be trendy – if your buyer wants to upgrade to the newest fad later, they can.

Spotlight your already completed upgrades

If you have already completed some renovations on your house, you’re not alone. The pandemic kept people at home last year, and during that time, many homeowners completed some home improvement projects.

Let your real estate professional know if you fall in this category. They can highlight any recent upgrades you’ve made in your house’s listing.

When it comes to renovations, your return-on-investment should be top of mind. Talk with your local real estate professional to find out what projects you should prioritize before you sell and how to highlight your upgrades to maximize your house’s potential.

Home Prices Keep Rising

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The median home price for single-family properties and condos has increased to $294,488. And since the pandemic hit in March of 2020, there’s been significant property appreciation across the board, with home values increasing, on average, by more than $41,000, according to the latest report from Radian.

A lack of inventory is helping to drive prices up, as the number of homes listed in the U.S. for the month were at a record low for any ninth month over the last 13 years.

Other findings:

– All regions reported faster appreciation than last month
– The strongest performing regions are the South and West, with growth occurring for three consecutive months
– The Midwest, however, had the highest month-over-month increase in appreciation rate (+242 basis points)
– September had the fastest, annualized one-month appreciation rate since 2020
– Among the 20-largest metropolitan areas of the U.S, more than half (13) posted faster annual price appreciation in September compared to last month

The takeaway:

“Given the rapid rise in home prices over a relatively short period of time, the Radian HPI is constantly mining the data to find signs of a shift in current housing strength—and so far, it seems to be heading in one direction,” said Steve Gaenzler, SVP of Data and Analytics, in a statement. “While there are some indications that affordability may be starting to place strain on certain homebuyers, the limited supply is a strong support for home price growth.”

Gaenzler added that, “ultimately while bidding wars may be reducing in frequency, sellers are still receiving above list price offers in many situations.”

Things To Keep In Mind When Making An Offer On A Home

Maui real estate
When it comes to buying a house, you’re looking for the perfect place to call home. The problem is, in today’s market there just aren’t that many homes available to purchase. With inventory hovering near record lows and sky-high buyer demand, a multi-offer scenario is the new normal. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re ready to make an offer.

Know Your Budget

Having a complete understanding of your budget and how much house you can afford is essential. That’s why you should connect with a lender to get pre-approved for a loan early in the homebuying process. Taking this step shows sellers you’re a serious, qualified buyer and can give you a competitive edge in a bidding war.

Move Quickly

Today’s market is dynamic and fast-paced. A skilled agent will do everything they can to help you stay on top of every possible opportunity. And, as soon as you find the right home for your needs, that agent will help you draft and submit your best offer as quickly as possible.

Utilize A Realtor

While homebuying may seem like a whirlwind process to you, local real estate agents do this every day, and they know what works. That expertise can be used to give you a significant leg up on your competition. An agent can help you consider what levers you can pull to help your offer stand out.

Make Your Best Offer

We all love a good deal. In the past, offering at or near the asking price was enough to make your offer appealing to sellers. In today’s market, that’s often not the case. In such a competitive market, emotions and prices can run high. Use an agent as your trusted advisor to make a strong, but fair offer based on market value, recent sales, and demand.

Be Flexible

Be prepared to amend your offer to include flexible move-in dates, a higher price, or minimal contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). Just remember, there are certain contingencies you don’t want to forego.

Pros & Cons Of Building Your Own Home

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Building a brand-new home may sound like a dream come true. You get to choose the ideal layout for your family’s needs, and have a say in each and every design element. However, the process may also be daunting if you’ve never done it before. Here are the pros and cons of building a house, including how much it costs, how long it takes, how it’s financed, and much more that will help you decide if this option is right for you.

Pro: You get what you want

Building a home is a popular option these days. And, it makes sense: When you build your own home, you get exactly what you want: an in-law suite for when the grandparents visit, a decked-out office for working from home, midcentury modern style, and more. Anything is possible.

The best way to make sure you get what you want (and that it fits within your budget): Hire a great builder from the start. This crucial step sets the best possible foundation (in every sense of the word) for your new home. Builders help you select others on your team (such as an architect, interior designer, and landscaper) and serve as your point person throughout the process.

Pro: Build where you want

Have you always dreamed of living by the water or having a mountain view? Or maybe you want no neighbors in sight? Building a home lets you set up your residence just about anywhere you want. Talk to your builder before making a land purchase. The builder will need to do a feasibility study on the land to make sure it’s a suitable place for the home you want to build. Builders help make sure the land is zoned for residential development and identify any issues with building on the site, such as connecting to utilities or developing the land before building can start.

Pro: Less maintenance

An obvious advantage of building a home is that everything is brand-new. That means maintenance and repairs will be minimal or even nonexistent for a while, saving you plenty of headaches and thousands of dollars a year. Nonetheless, a new house isn’t entirely maintenance-free. You’ll probably still need to do yardwork to keep up your newly installed landscaping. And you may want to pay for some preventive upkeep, and that could save you money in the long run.

Con: Cost

Building a house is an expensive enterprise, and typically costs more than buying a preexisting home. As such, you’ll need to have some in-depth discussions with your builder on what you want, and whether it’s affordable for you. Several factors determine how much your newly constructed home will cost: location, size, complexity, and design elements.

Con: Construction financing

To finance building a home, you’ll need a construction loan, which is a little more involved than getting a traditional mortgage to buy a preexisting house. For starters, you’ll likely need a 20% down payment since construction loans are considered higher-risk. Along with the usual financial documents needed for your loan application, you need to provide project plans, costs, and land value. You also need a signed contract or purchase contract with the project’s plans, specs, and budget details, and a timeline for the construction.

When shopping around for a mortgage for a new home build, go with a lender experienced in working with construction loans.

Con: Time

Generally, it takes a bare minimum of three months to build a simple house, and it can take much longer. Planning as much as you can will keep the project on track. Still, delays do happen. Weather is the biggest one, with temperature shifts and rain or snow postponing work. Your own choices could also be to blame. If you’re taking too long to choose your favorite flooring or windows, it could make it all take a little longer.

Things To Look Out For When Buying An Older Home

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Are you planning to purchase an old home? Old houses tend to cost less than modern builds. Additionally, if you’re the type of person who appreciates the nostalgic appeal and charm of an older home, then this will be a gratifying choice for you. Although older houses bring undeniable historical character, there are a few things you need to be aware of before buying one. Here is a list of important things to look for when buying an old house to avoid running into trouble.

Materials

The very first thing you should check before buying or moving into an old house is the presence of harmful building materials. Generally, houses built before 1978 are known to contain lead-based paints and asbestos. These chemicals pose a danger to both children and adults. Therefore, if you find the house to have these chemicals, you need to hire a professional to remove them before you settle in.

Foundation

The foundation of a home plays an important role in its overall stability—it’s what the entire structure sits upon. Many old houses tend to have foundation issues due to tear and wear, seismic waves, wet soil or tree root activity. In order to make the house livable, you need to hire a structural engineer to inspect and repair any damages or cracks. Experts can assess the situation and ensure the foundation is properly restored.

Roof

The roof is another common problem among old houses. If a house is very old, the roof shingles likely have depreciated and become less effective. Depending on the roof type the house has, its quality and efficacy can deteriorate based on weather, maintenance and quality of installation. Consider reaching out to professionals in your area to get an estimate on repair or replacement.

Electrical

Unlike modern homes, older ones usually have old electrical connectivity, which cannot withstand modern usage and appliances such as HVAC systems, computers and televisions, to name a few. Therefore, you need to ensure that the connection is updated before you finally move in. Among the areas to pay attention to are knob and tube wiring. These kinds of wiring were common in the early 1900s and are likely to be no longer effective.

Should You Buy A Bigger Home?

Maui real estate
If you have always wanted to live in a bigger home, then you may be wondering when the right time is for you to move. Bigger homes are more expensive and require more maintenance. However, you may be at a point in your life financially where you’re ready for a bigger place. Here are some reasons why moving on up may be a good idea.

Larger Family

Your current home may not fit your needs if your family is growing. If you’re expecting another child, then you will need a home with extra rooms. You’ll also need a home with extra storage space and bathrooms. This can be a very common reason why people seek to upgrade their homes. By checking in your area, you can start to plan your budget even before the birth of your child and make sure that an upgrade is right for you.

Affordability

Many folks move into a smaller home because that is all that they can afford. However, if you can afford to move into a bigger space, now may be the time to do it. If you have saved up a significant amount of money, or are earning more money than you used to, you can likely handle the financial responsibility of buying a larger home. When considering this type of move, you may also want to look in a more optimal area, such as one with better schools and other community opportunities.

Working From Home

More people are working from home these days, and one of the keys to successfully working at home is to have the right space. That’s why you may need a larger home. Most small homes do not have enough room to accommodate a home office or the space for a makeshift desk. If you live in a bigger home, you can convert an unused room into an office space. This can be especially helpful if you are considering starting a business, as having a space in your home to do this can save you a lot of money on rent.

Essential Fall Maintenance Checklist

Maui real estate
The nip of the first chill in the air. The colorful foliage. The pumpkin spice everything. Oh yeah, and the long list of home maintenance tasks awaiting you at the start of the season.

The postsummer months are a critical time for knocking out routine home maintenance to keep your household running smoothly into winter. Luckily, many of these tasks are easy DIY projects.

Check windows and doors

Lower temperatures mean higher thermostat settings, and anyone in a cold climate knows the pain of opening a gas bill in the dead of winter. To keep cold air out and utility bills in check, check all of your windows and doors for air leaks. If your issues are minor, a few low-budget options to fix leaky doors and windows include caulking around gaps, adding or updating the weatherstripping, and using foam sealant.

Clean the chimney

If you have a fireplace, fall is a great time to give it a thorough cleaning and inspection. Maintaining a clean fireplace is the simplest and best way to remove creosote, a byproduct of wood combustion that contains tar and toxins. Eliminating this from the chimney liner and the smoke box reduces the risk of a fire. If you’ve been keeping up with cleaning your chimney on a yearly basis, you can handle this task on your own, as long as you feel capable of using an extension ladder to get to the roof and scrub the chimney.

Run ceiling fans in reverse

The hot, humid days of summer are officially in the rear-view mirror (in most parts of the country, at least). That’s why now is the perfect time to start thinking about reversing the direction of fans in the home to make the space warmer. Reversing the direction of your ceiling fans helps circulate warm air near the ceiling back into your living space. All you need is a ladder or stool for this task—and make sure the fan is off. Then simply flip the switch that is commonly found on the side of the motor to change the fan’s direction.

Clean the gutters

Throughout the year, your gutters fill up with leaves, sticks, and other debris. Failing to clear this gunk from your gutters can mean rain and melting snow won’t be able to drain easily—potentially causing seepage and leaks into your home. If you’re comfortable climbing on a ladder to clean your gutters, this is a DIY-friendly task. Using a bucket, gutter scoop, and heavy-duty gloves, you can remove any debris found in your gutters. Use a hose to wash away any remaining debris and to make sure the downspouts are working properly.

5 Moving Mistakes to Avoid

Maui moving
Moving can be a long and difficult process. It’s no surprise that many people experience hiccups along the way. These tips may alleviate the pain and frustration that comes with making those mistakes. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common moving mistakes, as well as how to fix them.

Not scheduling your Maui move

One of the biggest moving mistakes is people who think they can just go with the flow when it comes to packing and moving. This leads to packing at the last minute, throwing things in boxes with little sense of organization and an overall unpleasant moving experience.

Solution: Make a schedule. Before you start packing a single box, write out a schedule of when you will pack and move the items in your home. Start a few weeks out from your final moving day in order to give yourself plenty of time. Then, break the task out into organized chunks. Tackle storage areas first, as they’re often the trickiest things to pack. Then go room-by-room to keep the process organized.

Not asking questions before hiring movers in Maui

Did you know that most moving companies will only insure items that they pack themselves? Important information like that often goes unsaid during the moving process, leaving homeowners in the lurch when something goes awry. Unfortunately, in the craziness of moving, sometimes you make assumptions about a moving company’s process without anyone stopping to check the facts.

Solution: Ask questions before you hire a moving company – and keep asking them until you’re sure you know the full story. Ask how their process works, if they’re insured, what’s covered under their insurance and what’s not, what excess fees you could incur and what their procedure is in the event of a lost or broken item. Then, once you have a contract in hand, read it over in full so that you know what you’re agreeing to before you sign on the dotted line.

Forgoing the in-home estimates

The majority of moving companies will offer you an estimate. However, they usually do these over the over the phone and vary widely. If you forget to mention a large or difficult-to-move item in your initial consultation, your estimate could end up well over the figure that was originally quoted to you. This is one of the more expensive moving mistakes.

Solution: Ask for an in-home estimate. That way, someone from the moving company can see exactly how much stuff needs to be moved. They’ll also know if any particular items require special consideration. Armed with that information, they should be able to give you an accurate quote. To make sure you’re getting the best possible deal, aim to get estimates from at least three different companies in your area.

Packing boxes too heavily

There is the impulse to load boxes until they’re chalk-full. After all, fewer boxes means fewer trips to and from the moving van. However, overloading boxes is one of the moving mistakes that isn’t good for you or your belongings. On one hand, it could be an injury risk. On the other, the weight of your items could cause the box to break.

Solution: Conventional wisdom states that, for your safety and the safety of your items, moving boxes should never exceed 50 pounds. Keep that figure in mind as you pack up your home. Additionally, pack heavier items – especially things like books – in smaller boxes. That way, you’ll have a built-in stop gap.

Not checking your inventory sheet

At the end of a long moving day, it’s only natural to want to send the movers away as fast as possible so that you can get started on the unpacking process. This impulse often leads to people signing off on their final inventory sheet – a list of everything that the movers moved into your new home – without checking to see that all their items are accounted for.

Solution: Check and double-check to make sure all of your belongings have arrived safely before signing off on your inventory sheet. If something is missing, make sure that it’s found before signing anything. Your signature releases the moving company of responsibility for lost or damaged items so make sure you have everything you need first.

Safeguarding Your Real Estate Investment

Maui home improvement
Your home is likely the largest investment you’ll ever make, and something you’ll obviously want to preserve. Preventative home maintenance will not only protect your home and maintain its value, but it will also help you save money in the long run. You will also ensure that your home is a safe and comfortable place for you and your family to live for as long as you desire. Here are some tips to protect and maintain your home.

Preventative Maintenance

Your home requires regular upkeep and care to prevent any issues from getting out of hand. A good first step is to create a property maintenance checklist where you break down all of the tasks and projects that need to be completed throughout the year (for example, complete HVAC maintenance before the cold winter or hot summer months). Decide which tasks you can complete on your own and which tasks you’ll need to hire a professional to help with.

Items related to the roof, structure, HVAC systems and plumbing should be top priorities, no matter what time of the year, as these are critical to the infrastructure of your home. Preventative maintenance is key to avoid causing bigger problems down the road, so it’s wise to schedule things like HVAC maintenance and roof inspections to reduce your risk of breakdown.

Emergency Fund

Regardless of age, location or condition, all homes will inevitably need some form of unexpected or emergency repair—it comes with the territory of being a homeowner. It’s better to set up a savings account now that you can contribute to over time and pull from as needed.

Depending on the scope of the issue, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in repairs or equipment replacement costs. Some tasks can wait, but problems with the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical or HVAC systems generally need to be assessed immediately. Being a homeowner isn’t cheap, but you can set yourself up for sustained success with a little foresight.

Small Stuff

Don’t let a small issue snowball into a big problem—when you notice something is wrong, deal with it right away to save yourself time and money down the road. Something like a small faucet drip can quickly turn into a major water problem if ignored for too long. A leak in the water heater may not seem like an immediate problem, but this can often be a warning sign of tank failure. Be wary of seemingly small problems and look into them right away to avoid having to dip into your emergency fund.

HOA Pros & Cons

Maui real estate

Across the U.S., homeowners’ associations are on the ascent. So, what’s the draw of homeowners’ associations? By the same token, what are the drawbacks? A well-run and managed HOA can be a blessing, and a poorly managed HOA can be a curse. Here are some of the blessings, and the curses, of homeowners’ associations (HOAs).

Pros

1. Neighborhood maintenance

Generally, an HOA establishes rules to ensure the neighborhood looks sharp. These include strict guidelines about keeping lawns manicured, restrictions on parking boats and other large vehicles on the street, and limitations on exterior paint colors. This type of oversight eliminates issues with one or two properties weighing down all property values due to an unpleasant exterior.

2. Access to amenities

An HOA can offer community amenities such as a pool, a fitness center, parks or common areas, children’s play areas, and even neighborhood security gates.

3. Shared costs

HOA dues are earmarked for maintenance of shared spaces. This includes community lawn care (but not for your own yard), community snow removal (but not for your own property) and upkeep of common areas like the pool or the fitness center.

Cons

1. Dues

When buying a home in a community with an HOA, you’ve got to add HOA dues to your budget. These dues will vary depending on the shared costs required to maintain the neighborhood elements the HOA is responsible for.

2. Rules

When you live in a community governed by a HOA, you’ll have to follow its rules, even if you think they’re ridiculous. If someone buys a home in an HOA community and wants to make changes to the property, such as the addition of an enclosed patio, it normally must be approved by the HOA’s board. It’s possible that an HOA could prevent certain updates on a home. You do, however, have the option of petitioning the homeowners’ association to change any rule you don’t agree with. But if you lose, you may have to live with it.

3. Poor Management

If an HOA is facing financial problems, is being mis-managed, or is ensnared in a lawsuit, it could harm your ability to obtain a loan for a home and could hurt resale prices of homes in the community.